Thursday, April 12, 2018 at 9:31 AM
Tues, Apr 17 Exploring our Catholic Faith "Allowing God to Transform our Pain" 6:30 in the church. Thurs Apr 19, 6 pm Frank Kelly returns with witness talk and healing service. Bring your friends!

11/13/16 Thirty Third Sunday in Ordinary Time - Deacon Tony

Deacon Tony Conti

Thirty-third Sunday in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 159

  • Our readings today talk of the end times… When this earth will be no more…
  • This isn’t something that we often reflect upon - But there are “end times” for all of us – Because we’re all mortal...
  • And we need to be conscious of our own mortality in order to have a healthy perspective on our lives...
  • Most… if not all adults; are aware of some of the great truths of life...
    • That life on this earth is short...
    • That we often expend our time and our energies on things that aren’t really important in the long run...
    • That unconditional love is what defines who we really are, and Who we’re destined to become...
  • Yet in the busyness of life - We often live lives of denial... as if we will be the first to escape the great truths of life, until one day; God in His mercy, gives us a “wake-up call”... and we’re brought back to reality... and life takes on a whole new meaning...
  • It may be the loss of a job, the loss of a loved one, the loss of our health...
    • Make no mistake - God doesn’t cause illness, or pain, or suffering, but He does at times allow it, as difficult as that may sometimes be for us to accept...
  • We’re taught by our faith that suffering can be redemptive – That it can lead to new lifeIf we allow it to change us
  • Suffering focuses us like a laser on what’s really important in life… It gives us instant perspective
  • All of the trivialities fall away, and we can see with crystal clear clarity what and who really matters in our lives
  • The Pharisees of both the past and the present, can reduce our faith into a series of laws and decrees which must be fulfilled if we’re to be saved...
  • This type of theology misses one crucial truth of our Christian Faith – That the Salvation that Christ won for us is an unconditional gift – That it cannot, and need not be earned...
  • Being aware of our brokenness and our sinfulness is important… as long as it doesn’t lead us to despair, or cause us to tear ourselves down...
  • A realistic awareness of our brokenness is necessary; because we must come to need God in our lives, if we’re to have God in our lives...
  • Those who are most aware of their own brokenness and their own weaknesses are also most aware of their need for God’s Mercy and Compassion and Grace in their lives...
  • Until we can recognize our need for God, and hunger and thirst for His presence in our lives, We’ll find it increasingly difficult to fully embrace and accept His gift of unconditional love...
  • We all need Hope on our journeys...
  • Despair, hopelessness, and despondency are the greatest enemies of perseverance, and they’re also the greatest tools of the devil...
    • We lose hope when we can no longer see Christ in the world, in others, and especially in ourselves...
    • We lose hope when we become distracted by the world’s agenda...
    • We lose hope when we allow ourselves to become exhausted by our need to control...
    • We lose hope when we take our eyes off Jesus...
  • Our hope lies not in ourselves, or in others, or in the worldOur hope lies in the promise that Jesus made to all of humanity... That He would be with us even to the end of the age...
    • Not with a “chosen few” – But with all of us...
  • The only person that can thwart our walk of faith is ourselves...
  • The hope that we recognize in today’s Gospel passage, is found in the last line: “By your perseverance you will secure your lives.”
  • Jesus doesn’t sayby your perfection you will secure your lives; or by your unstained holiness you will secure your lives; or by your perfect walk will you secure your lives”...
  • He says: “By your perseverance you will secure your lives.”
  • In the midst of the messiness of life… in the midst of our shortcomings… in the midst of our daily frustrations… and our anger… and our fatigue… and our disappointments...
  • In the midst of our broken humanityGod asks only one thing of us – He asks simply for our perseverance...
  • Despite all of the aspects of life that are beyond our control - What I can do, and what we can all do; is persevere...
  • Perseverance is born from a willingness to believe what we can’t currently see...
  • Perseverance, through the gift of free will, is a choice that we must make for ourselves everyday...
  • When we fall, when we’re battered and broken by life… There’s a fundamental choice always before us – We can either choose to stay down and give up the fight, or we can choose to get up with God’s Grace, and begin again... and againand again

 

  • The words of Winston Churchill ring as true today for our journeys of faith, as they did over seventy years ago, during the early days of World War II: “Never, never, never, never give up.”

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